1. It’s Handsome Jack’s story
The game is set between Borderlands and Borderlands 2 and tells the story of Handsome Jack’s rise to prominence. SPOILERS for those yet to play 2: Handsome Jack is the main villain and is killed by the Vault Hunters. Despite being intrinsically evil, he’s quite a cool character, so the chance to see more of Jack will no doubt whet the appetite of Borderlands fans.
2. You can play as Claptrap
The Pre-Sequel features four playable characters from both the first and second games, one of which is everyone’s favourite companion, Claptrap. Randy Pitchford said in the presentation that the camera will be much lower when playing as the work robot, but Claptrap “makes up for it in other ways”.
The other three characters are Athena, Jack’s robot servant Wilhelm - but before he takes his mechanic form - and Nisha The Lawbringer.
3. It’s being developed by 2K Australia
This will be a standalone game with 2K Australia leading the development. 2K Australia has previously worked on the Bioshock series alongside Irrational, and have remained in dialogue with Gearbox throughout the development of the Pre-Sequel.
4. Jetpacks on the moon
We were shown an area of the game where Jack’s gang are fighting on moon - each were equipped with a jetpack. We were told the moon will not be the only location players will get to explore in the Pre-Sequel, but both Pitchford and 2K remained coy as to the other areas.
The jetpack allows you to double jump and the lower gravity of the moon means you get Halo-like movement. You can also do a “butt stomp” by pressing crouch in mid-air, which looked pretty effective when up close and personal with a bunch of scavengers.
The lack of atmosphere means that oxygen is a required scavenge as you traverse the terrain. There are oxygen stations littered around the level that you can use to refill your O2 meter, which slowly depletes as you fight, dropping quicker as you jump. From the looks of things, maintaining O2 to survive isn’t as much of a pain as survival items are in other games like Lost Planet, but is definitely something players will need to be mindful of.
Oddly, flame grenades still managed to work in an environment without oxygen. This was never explained…
5. New weapons and effects
We got to see some of the new weapons and damage effects that you’ll have in the Pre-Sequel. Cryo effects have been added to guns, meaning you can now slow enemies before freezing them.
There’s also a cool shield which can absorb damage before being thrown back like a discus back at foes with all that absorbed power. You can also unlock an upgrade in the skill tree so it will rebound amongst a group of enemies too.
The last new weapon type we were shown was lasers. These weapons can have varying intensity from “pew pew” fire to “oh my god this laser will destroy a planet”, so look forward to that.
6. It’s last-gen only
The game will not be coming to PS4 or Xbox One, sticking instead with the previous generation of consoles and PC. The game uses the same engine as Borderlands 2, and Pitchford said the decision to stick with the past is that there isn’t a sufficient number of next-gen consoles in the hands of consumers to launch a next-gen Borderlands.
7. It looks like Borderlands
Don’t expect 2K Australia to re-invent the wheel: this game looks like your typical Borderlands romp. There are a few tweaks and clearly a new gameplay environment, but in action, it looks much like the Borderlands that became so popular with fans.